Maui News

Kaiser Permanente Hawaiʻi honors Dr. Eckart-Dodd of Maui with national award

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Dr. Anna Eckart-Dodd, an internal medicine hospitalist at Maui Memorial Medical Center, was honored as one of the 2021 recipients of Kaiser Permanente’s community service award. Photo Credit: Kaiser Permanente Hawaiʻi

Kaiser Permanente Hawaiʻi honored Dr. Anna Eckart-Dodd and the community COVID-19 vaccination events team as the 2021 recipients of the national David Lawrence Community Service Award. 

The annual award honors a Kaiser Permanente employee or physician in each of Kaiser Permanente’s eight regions for their outstanding volunteer activities that improve community health and wellness.

To celebrate the accomplishments of Dr. Eckart-Dodd and the Community COVID-19 Vaccination Events Team, Kaiser Permanente will donate $10,000 each to Mālama I Ke Ola Health Center on Maui and Parents and Children Together.

Dr. Eckart-Dodd’s passion for improving the health of the community, the individual and the land led her to co-create the Mālama Aina program at Maui Memorial Medical Center, where she works as an internal medicine hospitalist.

The program operates on the tenet that caring for the community starts with caring about the community. It connects doctors and staff with service projects to learn about Hawaiian culture and care for the land.

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Dr. Eckart-Dodd’s belief in the connection between the health of the community and the land is reflected through her volunteerism with Native Hawaiian organizations. She serves as vice president of the board of directors for Native Hawaiian immersion school, Ke Kula ʻO Piʻilani.

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She also donates poi from her 2-acre kalo farm to the community and invites students to visit the farm to learn the importance of growing one’s own food. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she coordinated Kaiser Permanente vaccine clinics for Native Hawaiian communities on Maui.

The Kaiser Permanente Hawaiʻi Community COVID-19 Vaccination Events Team was honored with a community service award. The team’s members: Kimberly Gibu, RN; with core members Mae-Lynne Swoboda; Chelsea Kaneshiro, RN, BSN; and Juana Gonzales. Photo Credit: Kaiser Permanente Hawaiʻi

The community COVID-19 vaccination events team was first in Hawaii to bring vaccination events into communities, meeting underserved individuals where they are. The team was lead by Kimberly Gibu, RN; with core members Mae-Lynne Swoboda; Chelsea Kaneshiro, RN, BSN; and Juana Gonzales. To date, the team participated in more than 150 community COVID-19 vaccination events and vaccinated more than 10,000 people.

In addition to sharing vaccination event best practices with other Kaiser Permanente markets, the team shared workflows and procedures with at least two other major health care systems in Hawaiʻi. They also coordinated efforts with the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health and other community organizations, making it possible for more residents across the state to access vaccinations.

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The David Lawrence Community Service Award is named for David Lawrence, MD, former chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente and a lifelong advocate for improving health.

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